It has been some time now since I have sent out a mailing but as some of you know I had another bout with malaria a UTI infection and a worm in my foot all in two weeks! I am praying that this is the end of the difficulties with my health for this year. Fortunately for me, Val Dorsey, a nurse from New York was here for a month long visit and she was willing and more than able to take over my role in assisting Janine with the teams. As God would have it, Val has extended her stay until the first of August and we are the new kitchen and anything else crew absolutely freeing Janine to focus more on being the field director for CRI. Enough about me and on to a wonderful experience at church.
It was Sunday and the Minnesota team was spending their last morning at the worship service in Dondo. This was going to be a celebration, a recognition for those who had completed a 3 month long class to prepare their hearts for a baptism. 17 men, women and young adults lined up outside of the church to enter into the side and walk into the baptismal. When a certain loved one would step into the water you could hear cheers coming from the family and friends. Some sat there with a longing for their time to come, for their special Sunday to exclaim to the church, to their family, to the community that they would take a stand for Christ, to lay down their cross and follow Jesus. It was a time when all of our hearts would swell with pride for the faith and courage of a people whose culture and their lives are filled with witch doctors and evil.
I sat and watched one woman in particular, Emelia. Emelia is a woman of 50 years, married for over 30 years, a leader of women’s ministry and has 7 children. I looked over her way as her husband walked into the water, he closed his eyes after pinching his nose and taking a deep breath. Emelia was smiling ear to ear and could hardly sit still as the Pastor spoke to him. As he dropped into the water and his soul was washed with the Holy Spirit’s cleansing power he came up with a smile and a welcomed squeal from his wife. Emelia has spend most of her life praying for her husband to come to know the Lord. She shared with me the countless years and days that he would spend drinking and spending time with his friends and coming home only to ignore her and treat her and the children poorly. But her faith took her through each day trusting that God was listening while she was waiting. The war came and went, 7 seven children were born, raised and have left home and today this man stood before the congregation of the Baptist church of Dondo committing his life to Christ and asking other’s to keep him accountable as a leader. What a day, what a smile, what a celebration. God was honored and praised for His faithfulness to answer a long hoped for prayer from Emelia. We were all blessed to see Emelia’s smile.